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California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, round 5, opens March 25 to new applicants

March 23, 2021 23385

Quick Summary:

The program received an additional $2.1 billion through the state-funded COVID-19 relief package signed in late February. Businesses that are impacted by COVID-19 and pandemic-related health and safety restrictions are again eligible for grants of between $5,000 and $25,000.

New applicants who meet eligibility criteria can apply March 25-31 for round 5 of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant. Applicants who applied during rounds 1-3 and were waitlisted are also eligible to receive the grant and do not need to reapply; they will be moved automatically into round 5.

The program, administered by California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, received an additional $2.1 billion through the state-funded COVID-19 relief package Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in late February. Businesses that are impacted by COVID-19 and pandemic-related health and safety restrictions are again eligible for grants of between $5,000 and $25,000 if they have been in business since June 1, 2019, and are open currently or have a plan to reopen. 

The dollar amount of the grant is determined by each business’s annual revenue as documented in the applicant’s most recent tax return. There are three tiers of grant funding. Businesses with annual gross revenue of between $1,000 and $100,000 are eligible to receive a $5,000 grant, for example.  

Lendistry, the state-designated intermediary, will review applications to determine eligibility and will consult with CalOSBA to award grants that prioritize several factors, including geographic distribution based on COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. 

Businesses can use the grant funds to cover costs they incurred due to pandemic-related health and safety restrictions, including business interruptions. Eligible use includes, but is not limited to:

  • All employee expenses, including payroll costs and paid sick, medical or family leave
  • Rent, utilities, mortgage principal and interest payments and debt obligations incurred before March 1, 2020
  • Costs associated with complying with federal, state or local guidelines for reopening with required safety protocols such as PPE supplies, testing, employee training and equipment

Earlier grant application rounds were funded through the state package signed last December. CalOSBA last month released preliminary data for rounds 1 and 2 that show selected applicants by industry and demographics. Small businesses or nonprofits in all 58 California counties were selected to receive a grant with 64.8% of grants going to applicants located in low- to moderate-income communities, for example. 

CalOSBA will announce a sixth application round that will also be open to new and waitlisted applicants. CDA will share more information when it becomes available. 

Apply March 25-31 for round 5 of the relief grant and read the all-business application guide for application tips, FAQ and details about eligibility, application certification and more.